Is the Marketplace Model Set to (Again) Disrupt the Future of Brick & Mortar Retail?

The concept of the ‘marketplace’ can be traced back to the very roots of retail. Separate vendors gathered in a central location and sold their wares alongside other vendors in what then could have been classified as the ‘store environment’. Fast forward a few thousand years, blow past the rise (and in many cases, the fall) of the neighborhood store and the mall and look to the rise of ecommerce to adopt the marketplace concept and grow it to levels no one could have predicted. Amazon, with 2017 ecommerce revenues of over $112B (this doesn’t include AWS), can attribute over 50% of that number to its marketplace of 3rd party sellers. Alibaba, eBay and others have built their model on the marketplace concept. A major part of the success of ecommerce has been its ability to provide a channel for countless products and brands that normally wouldn’t have seen the light of day in traditional retail channels. For consumers, it has enabled discovery and a level of choice never before available.

Paul Chapuis